Businessman Adams to serve more than 7 years for tax evasion
Businessman David M. Adams was sentenced to 7½ years in federal prison Tuesday for tax evasion during a lengthy sentencing hearing at which his former accountant and members of his family addressed U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant.
A U.S. Marshal handcuffed Adams, 58, after the judge denied his request to turn himself in at a later date to begin serving the sentence. Adams’ sentencing had already been delayed for months while he hired an accountant to review his tax liability and more recently because of a health problem.
Bryant imposed three years of supervised release to follow the 90-month prison term — of which Adams is required to serve at least 85 percent — and ordered him to repay the government 3,000 a month.
Adams, whose East Lyme estate was sold for 12 million and had been involved in other business enterprises. He had previously been convicted of a tax crime in 1982 and of credit card fraud in 1996, serving no prison time for either offense.
In her sentencing remarks, the judge listed a myriad of government services funded by American tax dollars, from traffic signals to the regulation of pharmaceuticals, the work of the Immigrations & Customs Enforcement Agency and even, “the lights in this room.” Bryant said nonpayment of taxes by some results in the increase of taxes for all. She said while choosing not to pay, Adams had lived in luxury homes, owned luxury vehicles and drank champagne at exclusive resorts.
“He’s lived a lifestyle more lavish than any defendant who has sat before me in my more than 20 years on the bench,” she said. “He’s wracked up a tax liability in the highest echelons. His criminal history understates the persistent pattern of criminal conduct over a period of decades.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan L. Wines introduced three of the four collection agents from the Internal Revenue Services who had been assigned to the Adams’ case and said she had engaged them in persistent dishonesty and gamesmanship, repeatedly stalled them, led them on wild goose chases and told them he was going to send a payment.”
“He hid income,” Wines said. “He had the money to pay this at any time.”
Wines said he had misled his personal accountant about his tax history and the timing of payments and that even after he pleaded guilty had maintained a “secret” bank account containing the proceeds of a life insurance policy on his late wife, Sandra Adams.
Satolino, Adams’ former accountant, told the judge his trust in Adams began to waiver in 2013 and was fully shattered in 2015 when a grand jury was convened to hear his case. Satolino said he was unaware of Adams’ past with the IRS and disparaged him to the agency and cost him 4,500 Adams owed him for the last tax return he prepared.
Adams’ family members conceded he had made mistakes but characterized him as an exceptional person while asking the judge for leniency. His daughter Avery, a senior at the University of Connecticut, said that after her mother became ill, and then died, her father was “one parent playing the role of two with a grace that not a million people have.”
“He’s the reason me and my brothers are able to be productive members of society,” she said.
David Adams’ sister, Carol Adams, said he had set the standard for hard work, mowing 60 lawns a week while all other kids were going to the beach, bringing family members into his businesses and treating his employees well, with stacks of pizza and pots of coffee during long days.
She said the family needed Adams, who still has much to offer.
“If they’re dangerous, you put them behind bars,” she said.
The judge said she did not see Adams as a demon.
“We enjoy the benefits of our talents, but must also endure the consequences of our failures,” Bryant said.